Introduction to Islam

wayfarer

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Secular democracy, theocracy and the Middle Way

...continued from previous post

can there be such a thing as a secular democracy with a muslim majority? or would all muslims want theocracy ultimately?
Muslims do not need theocracies, but that does not mean that Muslim democracies will exclude Shariah as the underlying legal and practical framework. However, it should be noted that the shariah includes within its tradition the facility for established minorities to be governed by their own laws, especially in the areas of personal law and religion/belief related laws. This precedent was set by Prophet Muhammad himself. This is not regarded as excluding the shariah, but rather as an essential feature of shariah, falling well within its framework. The Muslim view of shariah can be better understood by considering its literal meaning: "a waterway that leads to a main stream, a drinking place, and a road or the correct path.” The Islamic path seeks to facilitate peace and harmony, and represents primordial moderation and excellence that stretches all the way back to Adam, the first human, Muslim and prophet. This wasata, or moderation/balance was renewed by prophet after prophet through the ages, and made universal and abiding by Prophet Muhammad. God says:

"And we have made you a wasata (median/balanced/moderate) community in order that you may be a testimony/model for humanity." (Quran 2:143)

is this not the identity crisis which the arab spring has caused? by theocracy i mean a specific god is in the constitution, taught in schools etc, with criminal acts defined by a religious book and the political head is also seen as a spriritual leader.
Successful Muslim political systems and legal frameworks are not based (or dependent) on theocratic leadership styles.

The challenge of the Arab spring is not about choices between theocracies and secular democracies, but about being among the pioneers, navigating the community of Islam through negotiations with late modernity. The community is in a state of transition, shedding some of its medieval baggage, setting a new course while remaining true to its divinely decreed primordial core.

According to Islamic scholar, Timothy Winter ("Contentment" lecture):

"It took the West 400 years to adapt to modernity... and many of the challenges that the community of Islam faces are there because of having to turn a very sharp corner very quickly. The community is, if you like, like one of those super tankers that take 20 miles in order to change course, because they're so big, and ponderous, and carrying so much, and they have been underway for so long, that you can't suddenly turn them on a new course overnight. If you're a tiny little ship, you can do that, a new religious movement - it can change and adapt because it is light-weight. But a religion like Islam, if it has to change course, which it has to, because that's what ijtihad (continued scholarly efforts to better understand, interpret and operationalise the Divine Message in way that is relevant to the context) is about, and that's what living in a changing world is about, and what the universality of the religion is about, then it's going to take time..."

Islam provides the tools for this navigation, such as the institution of ijtihad. However, even as the tanker negotiates its course, it remains in tact, its monotheistic creed as clear and pure as ever, and it carries with it a normative Islamic practice represented by approximately 90% of its passengers.
 
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murraybiscuit

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Thanks wayfarer. It's taking a bit of effort to separate all the constituent components out. I think a large part of my confusion comes from the anarchic/decentralised structure of Islam.

When it comes to Christianity, the pope or a synod or an elder decides on policy, and followers are generally identifiable by that.

I was under the impression that due to the location of Mecca and history of Saudi, as well as the vociferous nature of Iran and its ayatollah, that these were politically and socially representative of the aspirations of the greater Muslim populace globally. Again, I think that western media and my culture informed this understanding.

That's a great excerpt from Timothy Winter, it rings true in the middle east. To be honest, I think the interdependence necessitated by globalization has precipitated the current middle eastern identity crisis, and is the source of a greater crisis to come between state and individual, where ideology and theology become increasingly inefficient tools in justifying the state as a protector of communal and personal interest.
 

wayfarer

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Thanks wayfarer. It's taking a bit of effort to separate all the constituent components out. I think a large part of my confusion comes from the anarchic/decentralised structure of Islam.
When it comes to Christianity, the pope or a synod or an elder decides on policy, and followers are generally identifiable by that.
Definitely decentralised, but I am not sure that I will call it anarchic, given the internal coherence of the mainstream. Perhaps from outside it appears anarchic. Islamic scholars attribute the coherence, order and cohesion of the mainstream to a number of factors, not least of them being the binding and unifying quality of the Noble Quran.

Timothy Winter explains in his introduction to a lecture:

"The Muslim nation's greatest achievement over the past millennium has undoubtedly been its internal intellectual cohesion. From the 10[SUP]th[/SUP] century (CE) almost to the present day, and despite the outward drama of the clash of dynasties, the mainstream Muslims have maintained an almost unfailing attitude of religious respect and brotherhood among themselves. It is a striking fact that virtually no religious wars, riots or persecutions divided them during this extended period, so difficult in other ways.

The history of religious movements suggests that this is an unusual outcome. The normal sociological view, as expounded by Max Weber and his disciples, is that religions enjoy an initial period of unity, and then descend into an increasingly bitter factionalism led by rival hierarchies. Christianity has furnished the most obvious example of this; but one could add many others, including secular faiths such as Marxism. On the face of it, Islam's ability to avoid this fate is astonishing, and demands careful analysis..."


The decentralisation of religious authority in Islam is pivotal for safeguarding Islam's integrity, universality and contextual validity and applicability. Also, Islam has no requisite spiritual intermediaries, as God is ever close, at once transcendent and immanent. The Quran states:

"We indeed created man; and We know what his soul whispers within him, and We are nearer to him than the jugular vein." (Quran 50:16)

However, Muslims know all too well that it would be foolhardy to ignore the guidance of present-day scholars of jurisprudence, creed, spirituality, etc., as these are the inheritors of a phenomenal legacy. Still, every individual may pursue the acquisition sacred knowledge, and there is no concept of clerical ordainment in Islam.

I was under the impression that due to the location of Mecca and history of Saudi...
Are you refering to the history where the Saud family joined forces with the extremist Wahhabis (Ibn Abdul-Wahhab, forerunner of Wahhabism, married the daughter of Ibn Saud, founder of Saudi Arabia) and proceeded, in the 1800s, to butcher 4000 Muslims in Taif, massacre thousands more in Iraq... to the point of having committed, by 1925, 40 000 beheadings and 350 000 amputations of Muslims who refused to buy into Wahhabi flat-earth extremism? Thus was founded the self-declared great Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, originally aligned with Britain, and then with the USA after oil discovery. (Read article by Shafiq Morton, veteran South African journalist, published earlier this month.)

... as well as the vociferous nature of Iran and its ayatollah, that these were politically and socially representative of the aspirations of the greater Muslim populace globally.
Did you know that the vociferous Iran and its ayatollah engage in the systematic persecution of and discrimination against mainstream Muslims? Mainstream Muslims are barred from most government positions, even in majority mainstream provinces. Mainstream Muslims are further prevented from holding congregational Friday prayers, and it was even declared illegal for them to hold their own Eid prayers. There are over a million mainstream Muslims in the capital, Tehran, but authorities refuse permission for them to build even a single mosque.

Again, I think that western media and my culture informed this understanding.
I guess so. But I commend you for tugging at the "Western-centric blinkers" and for having an open mind. But in the Middle-east the situation is the same, and perhaps you are aware of the many distortions that Middle-easterners have of the West...
 
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ninj.ga

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Thanks wayfarer. It's taking a bit of effort to separate all the constituent components out. I think a large part of my confusion comes from the anarchic/decentralised structure of Islam.
Thats so not true of Islam.... Like any organized religion they have structures. Each denomination has its leaders.
 

ninj.ga

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Do you even read wayfarer's posts in here? If not, why are you even in this thread? :confused:
Report my posts if you dont like them. /care.

If he wants to do diatribes where he can control the comments then I would suggest a blog. An open forum allows for everyones opinion. Not just his.
 

Sodan

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Oi dont feed it! So far the thread has been kept sensible even with his dodgy postings here and there.....:)
ha, my apologies. You are correct. I guess it's quite clear that, if one still clings on to one's uneducated opinion when it is in conflict with reality, then it is simply not worth engaging with such a person.

Anyway, sorry for the diversion. Back on topic:

So it appears then that these extremists have effectively hijacked your religion, drawing on the oil-wealth, and supported by western powers, to maintain their position.

I'm not sure if this is the right thread to ask these questions, but here goes:
1. Besides easy and cheap access to oil, is there anything else the west gains from this relationship?
2. There is estimated to be less than 50 years of oil left that can be mined. What do you think will happen when the middle-east runs out of oil (currently their major claim to wealth).
3. What efforts are being made by the mainstream muslims to combat the effect that the extremists are having on the image of Islam?
4. I gather Mecca is the holiest place on earth for you, and it is being controlled by the wahabis. Should this not be of major concern to the mainstream muslims? What is being done about this?
 

ninj.ga

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ha, my apologies. You are correct. I guess it's quite clear that, if one still clings on to one's uneducated opinion when it is in conflict with reality, then it is simply not worth engaging with such a person.

Anyway, sorry for the diversion. Back on topic:

So it appears then that these extremists have effectively hijacked your religion, drawing on the oil-wealth, and supported by western powers, to maintain their position.

I'm not sure if this is the right thread to ask these questions, but here goes:
1. Besides easy and cheap access to oil, is there anything else the west gains from this relationship?
2. There is estimated to be less than 50 years of oil left that can be mined. What do you think will happen when the middle-east runs out of oil (currently their major claim to wealth).
3. What efforts are being made by the mainstream muslims to combat the effect that the extremists are having on the image of Islam?
4. I gather Mecca is the holiest place on earth for you, and it is being controlled by the wahabis. Should this not be of major concern to the mainstream muslims? What is being done about this?
Thanks for showing me how I should behave by insulting me. So what you showed me is the right way to behave in this thread with someone who does not agree with them is to insult them. Such classy stuff.
 

R/SGT

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Just out of curiosity what is Islam view on have dogs as pets and letting them move within your house.

We were having a discussion at work the other day about our dogs and a muslim co woker was shocked that we let the into the house
 

falcon786

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ha, my apologies. You are correct. I guess it's quite clear that, if one still clings on to one's uneducated opinion when it is in conflict with reality, then it is simply not worth engaging with such a person.
Exactly I couldn't have said it better myself.

Anyway, sorry for the diversion. Back on topic:

So it appears then that these extremists have effectively hijacked your religion, drawing on the oil-wealth, and supported by western powers, to maintain their position.

I'm not sure if this is the right thread to ask these questions, but here goes:
1. Besides easy and cheap access to oil, is there anything else the west gains from this relationship?
2. There is estimated to be less than 50 years of oil left that can be mined. What do you think will happen when the middle-east runs out of oil (currently their major claim to wealth).
3. What efforts are being made by the mainstream muslims to combat the effect that the extremists are having on the image of Islam?
4. I gather Mecca is the holiest place on earth for you, and it is being controlled by the wahabis. Should this not be of major concern to the mainstream muslims? What is being done about this?
Can we do it in his "tossed" thread ?I'll reply there shortly since i guess we are going more into politics rather than Islam but its still relevant to Islam so can easily be discussed in there.
 
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R/SGT

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What is your view (Interpretation) on whether or not suicide bombers like this women who killed the South Africans in Afghanistan will get into paradise
 

ninj.ga

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Exactly I couldn't have said it better myself.



Can we do it in his "tossed" thread ?I'll reply there shortly since i guess we are going more into politics rather than Islam but its still relevant to Islam so can easily be discussed in there.
Pity you cant form a mob to scare me out of this thread huh?
 

falcon786

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Just out of curiosity what is Islam view on have dogs as pets and letting them move within your house.

We were having a discussion at work the other day about our dogs and a muslim co woker was shocked that we let the into the house
I guess its more a question of cleanliness more than anything else,my neighbor is a muslim and his dog sleeps in his house however personally I wouldn't..cats are a lot cleaner so I would allow them in.

What is your view (Interpretation) on whether or not suicide bombers like this women who killed the South Africans in Afghanistan will get into paradise
Thats for GOD to decide,personally I feel suicide bombings have no place in Islam.
 

R/SGT

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I guess its more a question of cleanliness more than anything else,my neighbor is a muslim and his dog sleeps in his house however personally I wouldn't..cats are a lot cleaner so I would allow them in.

So there isn’t any specific law forbidding it and it is a matter of personnel choice.

Cats are cleaner but they still like to bring in presents for you

Thats for GOD to decide,personally I feel suicide bombings have no place in Islam
Good, anybody else?
 

falcon786

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So there isn’t any specific law forbidding it and it is a matter of personnel choice.
Don't know maybe there is,somebody more in the know like wayfarer can give you a definite answer on that one,I just personally find dogs dirty hence it has never bothered me to find out properly since it has no bearing for me.We had a guard dog at our company for the yard and that was fine apparently but it did not ever come inside the building.
 
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wayfarer

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I'll get there, but in the meanwhile check falcon's reply in tossed. Falcon, your "tossed" link does not bring up the correct post. Those are more politics-related questions, so I will probably deal with it in tossed...

Pity you cant form a mob to scare me out of this thread huh?
ghoti, old pal, you will always be welcome here!

What is your view (Interpretation) on whether or not suicide bombers like this women who killed the South Africans in Afghanistan will get into paradise
I think by now you know the view of the mainstream majority. To start with, suicide is a sinful act, secondly, even in legitimate warfare, non-combatants may never be targeted. It also has a negative effect on foreign support for the cause. As Timothy Winter says, "suicide-bombing is an extreme way of shooting oneself in the foot".

However, a small number of scholars make an exception in cases where civilian populations suffer extreme persecution, and the suicide bombing is really then an act of desperation. This minority view further insists that the target must be exclusively combatants. These are then called martyrdom operations. The argument by the majority for prohibiting this is based on the view that hope is associated belief, and despair with unbelief. Muslims are exhorted to not loose faith in the mercy/help of God, and not to resort to using suicide as a means.

Will she go to paradise or hell? I think you know the answer to this: only God knows. Martyrs are promised paradise, but only God knows what is in the heart of a person and whether there was sincerity - in any case, most scholars do not regard suicide bombing as martyrdom.

Just out of curiosity what is Islam view on have dogs as pets and letting them move within your house. We were having a discussion at work the other day about our dogs and a muslim co woker was shocked that we let the into the house
Generally, dogs and pigs fall under the same category of being impure animals, that make "filthy". They are not fit for consumption, but also general contact should be avoided. However, these creatures should be treated with the same respect as any other of God's creatures. There is no problem when dogs need to be kept indoors to assist the blind etc., or outdoors as watchdogs, sheep dogs, etc.
 
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R/SGT

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I think by now you know the view of the mainstream majority. To start with, suicide is a sinful act, secondly, even in legitimate warfare, non-combatants may never be targeted. It also has a negative effect on foreign support for the cause. As Timothy Winter says, "suicide-bombing is an extreme way of shooting oneself in the foot".

However, a small number of scholars make an exception in cases where civilian populations suffer extreme persecution, and the suicide bombing is really then an act of desperation. This minority view then insists that the target must be exclusively combatants. These are then called martyrdom operations. The argument by the majority for prohibiting this focuses on the fact hope is associated belief, and despair with unbelief. Muslims are exhorted to not loose faith in the mercy/help of God, and not to resort to using suicide as means.
Actually I was looking for more of an Islamic law reference

If that is the view the why is it so prolific and mostly targeted against non combatants

Will she go to paradise or hell? I think you know the answer to this: only God knows. Martyrs are promised paradise, but only God knows what is in the heart of a person and whether there was sincerity - in any case, most scholars do not regard suicide bombing as martyrdom.
I know where she will go and my god would agree

She is no Martyr just a stupid hater

Generally, dogs and pigs fall under the same category of being impure animals, that make "filthy". They are not fit for consumption, but also general contact should be avoided. However, these creatures should be treated with the same respect as any other of God's creatures. There is no problem when dogs need to be kept indoors to assist the blind etc., or outdoors as watchdogs, sheep dogs, etc.
I don’t eat dog so that’s fine, but what makes dogs different from cats

Talking about pigs I saw a women taking her pet pig for a walk in the park the other day, keeping miniature pigs as pets seems to be on the upsurge again
 
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